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NATIONAL
March 31, 2014 | By Michael A. Memoli and David Lauter
WASHINGTON - Faced with a strong prospect of losing control of the Senate in November, Democrats have begun a high-stakes effort to try to overcome one of their party's big weaknesses: voters who don't show up for midterm elections. The party's Senate campaign committee plans to spend $60 million to boost turnout. That's nine times what it spent in the last midterm election, in 2010. The Democratic National Committee has begun to make the sophisticated data analysis tools developed to target voters in the 2012 presidential campaign available to all the party's candidates.
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WORLD
March 31, 2014 | By Shashank Bengali
MUMBAI, India - One week before elections that will determine a new prime minister, Indians are deeply dissatisfied with the direction of their country and overwhelmingly want a change in leadership in New Delhi, according to a survey released Monday. The Pew Research Center found that Indians favor the main opposition group, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, to the ruling Indian National Congress by a ratio of more than 3 to 1. The BJP's strong showing rests on the perception that it would do a better job combating the country's range of woes including corruption, unemployment, inflation and political deadlock, the survey said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 31, 2014 | By Christine Mai-Duc
This post has been corrected. See note below for details. With just over a week left before election day, the Long Beach city clerk has discovered ballot irregularities that could affect more than half of the city's voting precincts in one of the most closely watched local elections in years. Ballot tabulators failed to count votes marked on the second page of some ballots, said City Clerk Larry Herrera. The mistake affects precincts that have two-page ballots -- about 169 of the city's 295 polling places.
WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Glen Johnson
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turks went to the polls Sunday in municipal elections seen as a key test for the embattled ruling party as a corruption scandal swirls around Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his inner circle. The vote was widely viewed as a litmus test of damage done to the ruling Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish initials AKP, by the graft probe and Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian stance in the face of it. The party handily won the last three general elections, but a poor performance in Sunday's balloting could derail Erdogan's presidential ambitions.
WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Laura King and Amro Hassan
CAIRO - Egypt's election commission said Sunday that the first round of voting for a new president would be held May 26 and 27 and that any runoff would conclude within a month of that. Originally, the polling was to have taken place by mid-April. But the odds-on favorite, Abdel Fattah Sisi, took his time declaring his candidacy. He finally did so last week. Sisi, who stepped down as defense minister in order to run, led a coup against elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July.
WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Kim Willsher
PARIS -- Voters in Paris elected their first female mayor on Sunday as Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo won the keys to City Hall after a closely fought campaign. Hidalgo's victory was one of the day's rare successes for French President Francois Hollande's Socialist Party, which lost ground in municipal elections around the country. The Spanish-born Hidalgo, 54, who defeated her rival in a tight second-round vote, will take over City Hall from her mentor, popular Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who has run the French capital since 2001.
WORLD
March 30, 2014 | By Glen Johnson
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party appeared headed toward a sizable victory in the country's municipal elections Sunday, despite a corruption scandal that continues to swirl around Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his inner circle. With 85% of the vote counted, the party, known as the AKP, had secured between 44% and 47% of municipal posts, while the main opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, garnered between 27% and 29%, according to Turkish media reports early Monday.
OPINION
March 30, 2014 | By Ronald Neumann and Michael O'Hanlon
Negative early headlines about Afghanistan's April 5 presidential election are easy to imagine. Some candidates are already trying to foster a simplified view among Westerners that they can fail to make the likely second-round runoff only if there is fraud. This is a deliberate attempt to provoke U.S. interference, whatever the facts. A peaceful transition of power to a new president broadly accepted as legitimate by the Afghan people is essential for several reasons: to secure future Afghan stability; to maintain support for Afghanistan in the U.S. Congress; and, above all, to achieve a key strategic goal - that the nation does not again become a base for terrorism against the United States.
WORLD
March 29, 2014 | By Hashmat Baktash and Shashank Bengali
KABUL, Afghanistan - Suicide bombers dressed as women broke into a private home on Saturday and began firing rocket-propelled grenades at their target next door: the headquarters of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission, the latest insurgent assault on this country's closely watched presidential vote. The attackers died but there were no other reports of fatalities. Two police officers were wounded in the assault, which lasted for more than five hours, officials said. Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility in what has become an all too familiar occurrence in Afghanistan's capital one week before a pivotal election to choose President Hamid Karzai's successor.
NEWS
March 27, 2014 | By Ted Rall
Republican Andy Vidak won an upset victory in last year's special election for a state Senate seat in the San Joaquin Valley. He prevailed despite the Democrats' 22-point advantage in voter registration in the district. How'd he do it? His explanation: "Our message was that common sense has no party lines. " But as The Times' Patrick McGreevy writes, his common sense might also have a lot to do with knowing when to shut up. "He sidestepped gay marriage and some other divisive issues - while taking a moderate approach to immigration," writes McGreevy.
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